I will admit that before my visit to Prague I had only had red currants a handful of times and those times had happened oh so long ago that I’d actually forgotten how good they are!
Tangy, sweet and bright red – red currants are the perfect summer fruit. They are also absolutely perfect in a meringue tart.
The first task at hand is to remove the berries from their stems. This whole bucket of red currants came from about one quarter of one bush. Red currants grow like they just don’t care.
Next get working on the crust. The base of this tart is a sweet buttery shortbread crust. The sweetness in the crust balances out the tartness of the berries.
Oh – and just in case you were wondering, that little packet up there is baking powder.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt then add the softened butter and mix until combined. Add the yolks and vanilla and stir until a soft dough forms.
Look at that all that beautiful butter and sugar! Love.
We are making an easy town tart so press the dough right into the pan. I had a pie pan on hand but you can use a springform pan or a tart pan. Prick the crust all over with a fork and pop it into an oven preheated to 350.
While the crust is baking, let’s get our meringue on.
First, stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. In a medium bowl begin whipping the egg whites with about a tablespoon of the sugar/cornstarch mixture and a pinch of salt. Keep on whipping until soft peaks form. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
In several additions slowly add the remaining sugar/cornstarch until the meringue is glossy and holds its shape. Finally, gently fold in the red currants. Pour over the warm crust and bake for about 15 minutes.
Look at that easy summertime tart you just made. Don’t have red currants? Try raspberries! Or huckleberries!
Most importantly, this tart is best served with afternoon coffee.
Red Currant Meringue Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup (187 grams) flour
1/4 cup (55 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 stick (1/2 cup or 113 grams) butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the filling:
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) corn starch
2 cups (250 grams) red currants, rinsed, removed from their stems and well-dried
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the softened butter and mix until combined. Stir in egg yolks and vanilla until a soft dough forms. Press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan, springform pan, or tart pan and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and cooked through.
While the crust is baking – make the meringue.
Combine the sugar and corn starch together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl begin whisking the egg whites, a pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Slowly, in several additions, add the remaining sugar/cornstarch to the egg whites until the mixture is glossy and holds its shape. Gently fold in the red currants. Immediately pour the meringue over the warm crust and bake the tart for about 15 minutes or until the top has browned slightly.
Let cool slightly and serve.